MY FIRST EXPERIENCE OF COMMUNITY

This homily is based on Matthew 28:16-20 for the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity (and the occasion of Entrance Day for the Jesuits in the Philippines).

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Jesuit novices in Sacred Heart Novitiate, Quezon City (1987). Author is on the first row, fifth from left.

Someone posted this photograph on Facebook yesterday. It’s our one and only complete class picture as Jesuit novices taken 28 years ago at Sacred Heart Novitiate. It was probably retrieved from someone’s hard drive because yesterday, the 30th of May, has been for many years now “Entrance Day” for Jesuits in the Philippines: the day when accepted applicants lug their carefully packed suitcases to Sacred Heart Novitiate and say their goodbyes to family and friends as the novitiate gates are shut dramatically. This closing of the doors signals the start of two years of religious formation and relative isolation from the world.

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A WINDOW TO PENTECOST

This homily is based on John 20:19-23 for Pentecost Sunday.

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The Oratory of St. Francis Xavier on the campus of Xavier School Nuvali

There is a mysterious, but beautiful stained glass window in the Oratory of St. Francis Xavier in Nuvali. There are over twenty such windows in that chapel, each one designed by artist Carlo Tanseco, and each one a piece of art in its own right. Every time I walk into the chapel, I never fail to be surprised to find myself suddenly bathed in the light and colors streaming through the windows.

Yet there is one particular window that you won’t see unless you go into the reconciliation room, where it is installed behind closed doors. It’s an image as mysterious as it is instructive because it teaches us a couple of valuable lessons about the Holy Spirit in our lives.

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THE HULK IN HIDING

This reflection is based on Mark 16:15-20 for the feast of our Lord’s Ascension. (Spoiler alert!)

I needed a break the other day, so I decided to treat myself to the perfect movie. The perfectly mindless movie, that is: “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” that global blockbuster that features an all-star cast of superheroes plus platinum robot drones, with lots of flying, pummelling, explosions, and every possible CGI trick that technology could pull out of its latest hat.

Just the kind of movie I needed, I told myself at the ticket booth as I opted for the 2D because it’s cheaper and 3D makes me dizzy anyway.

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I WAS TEN WHEN I MET JESUS

jesusThis homily is based on John 15:9-17.

I was ten when I met Jesus, but I was too young to know.

We were on our way to Baguio for the summer, and we had left the house right before sunrise. My parents would take us children there every year to escape the sweltering heat of Manila, and this year was no different. Or so I thought. Continue reading I WAS TEN WHEN I MET JESUS